Nate Fitzbutler did a remix to Kanye West’s and Kendrick Lamar’s “No More Parties in LA” called “No More Parties in SD”. He said, "we made this track to try to bring some national buzz to our city that’s always been in the shadow of the LA music scene."

Niko Sitaras from the San Diego based dream rock band Paper Days says, "We just released our new EP 'Fun For Family & Friends'. Our release party is on Feb 19th being hosted at the Irenic (with The Bash Dogs & Splavender). 

Panic Is Perfect is an indie-pop group from San Fran and they are touring in support of their new album, Cellspace, which drops tomorrow on Strange Loop Records. They'll be playing at The Loft @ UCSD on Feb. 12!






Love Letters to the Universe (A Roundup of new Crucial Bliss Releases)
A Crown of Amaranth - Love.lies.bleeding
Luasa Raelon - Into the Void
Light of Shipwreck - From the Idle Cylinders

by Keith Boyd 11.06.07

Bleak and spotty light lopes through the room in a tired smear. Bleak is the right word for it. Bleak like the view through the curtains of your FEMA trailer's window. Bleak like metallic lunar dust. Corridors of ash swirl and float in a never-ending carousel. The hot, dry air seems too selfish to claim it as its own. Instead it drifts endlessly; dust orphans held aloft by the corn husk arms of the wind. These are some tired days here. They weight on your chest and soul with oppression and boredom. Where to go? The air outside is so full of plastic dust and dry heat you'd be a fool to risk it for even a few minutes. So you sit. In the sitting your mind is freed from its mooring and soon you are far away from the dusty ruins of these last days of Empire and you're sailing the Spaceways.

Once upon a time we had endless choices at hand to relieve our pain and boredom. There were pills and powders for some, rituals and exercise for others. The average spate of depression could be either medically or economically suppressed within 5-15 minutes. On every street corner drive-through pharmacies would dispense quick acting serotonin uptake gels and blasts of nasal B-12. Mental health and well-being were simply a credit card swipe away. That was before the Great Fall. It seems like a dream now but there are many of us still alive who remember how things were before. It all seemed to happen so quickly. First George Bush declared himself Supreme Pope and Overlord of the Solar System and then it was bombs falling like rain from the sky. The last 12 years have seen space and time folding in on themselves. 90% of all plant and animal species were disposed of in the massive, "Intentional Extinction" program. Fetuses were implanted with smog re-breathing equipment while In Uteri. It was only a matter of time before something like the Off-World colony started to look like an attractive option to many of us.

As a part of this movement towards space colonization Crucial Bliss (a secretive subdivision of the record label Crucial Blast) began releasing a series of beautifully off-kilter sound experiments. The underlying, yet strangely unstated, mission of these projects was to familiarize the citizenry with the tripped out, psychedelic soundscape they would be exposed to in deep space. First there was "A Crown of Amaranth" with "Love.lies.bleeding". This corrosive slab presents us with a planet gone wrong. Dust clouds stir of bone dry metal shavings that catch and scratch everywhere. Doomed machinery runs in frantic, purposeless motion slowly tearing itself apart. A grey and yellow light casts a sickly pall of everything you look at. This dystopian future is serves as warning and snapshot. It's a portrait of everything we see going wrong and all that is to come as a consequence.

Luasa Raelon's "Into the Void" is a trip out further into the universe. Deep space and chthonic vastness are the overriding motifs. Everything we wish for we eventually project outward towards space. Perhaps this is a good idea, perhaps not. Our intentions affect our results. This space projection is the back through time travelogue and Captain's log of some corrupt and failed mission to the beyond. Encounters with these beings don't even come close to resembling E.T. and the little boy touching fingers. This is true alien coldness. It's an insectoid or reptilian intelligence that confronts one and it has no time for any petty human formalities. It has mouths to feed and eggs to plant.

Lastly there is Light of Shipwreck with, "From the Idle Cylinders". This percussion laden epic is a trip to both outer space and to the bottom of the sea. Dying bodies of water such as the Salton Sea are invoked. So are lonely drifting wrecks. Wrecks adrift on both the waves and gravity-less free float. Perhaps the most musical of these releases there is however no bowing down to either melody or harmony. It's more as though fragments of a song were drowned in the mud and snippets occasionally bubble to the surface.

All three of these discs are simply stunning. The sheer creative use of sound to evoke mystery and a sense of doomed adventure is astounding. Weaned as we are on endless retreads of the good old pop machine's 2:59 verse-chorus-verse format it's unlikely many people will have the pleasure of hearing these sounds. That's a shame on many levels. First off while there's nothing wrong with the pop format per say, it does lend itself to a limited range or palette. Some might say that this is good thing and that discipline breeds focus and therefore mastery. Okay I'll buy some of that but I'm not willing to go all the way. By limiting our intake of the amazing variety of sounds available we block out worlds. We eat and work and breed and shit in a small sonic space indeed. Giving it up in favor of the bigger and broader is way of saying yes to life. When we embrace the sounds of diesel motors and wind across sand we begin to tune into the amazing sounds that surround and bypass us daily. When we lend our ears (and monetary support) to sound artists such as these we further the notion of art and music acting as discovery tools leading us towards a genuine experience of our lives. And who knows, maybe by listening to these love letters to the universe we will one day be ready to make that great leap out into our future home deep in the Cosmos.

    Lotushouse MP3 Sampler
    Maquiladora - The Revenge of Becky Royal (New Piano)
    Tenniscoats + Maquiladora - Hours
    High Mountain Tempel - Processional (An Invocation to Thee Angelic Sister)
    Raagnagrok - HJD
    Beggars - Will We Call It Love
    Maquiladora - Termez 1936
    Maquiladora - Song 26
    Buzz or Howl - Sendhe Mortu Chin Rigore
    Earthling Tempel - Celestial Inhabitants of the Sun
    Buzz or Howl - The Sins Of The Flower Are Visited On The Shunned
    Maquiladora - Light of the Rain
    High Mountain Tempel - The Ascended Master (Hang Gliding in Heaven)
    High Mountain Tempel - Fluctuat Nec Mergitur
    High Mountain Tempel - Tempel Walk
    Buzz or Howl - 05 Oct 05
    Buzz or Howl - Sun as the Destroyer of Dreams
    Live version at the Make Room SF 2005
    Maquiladora - In This Life
    Maquiladora - Simply to See You
    Maquiladora with Kawabata Makoto - Nampasen
    Maquiladora Maquiladora - Drunk and Lighting Fires (A Waltz)
    Maquiladora Maquiladora - Ritual of Hearts
    Maquiladora Maquiladora - Ankle
    Maquiladora - Mayday
    Loraine Loraine - Pasqually Old Pasqually

    Beggars - S/T
    by Pierro Scaruffi

    Maquiladora's Eric Nielsen and Bruce McKenzie joined forces with Skygreen Leopards' Glenn Donaldson to form Beggars, whose double-disc Beggars (Lotushouse, 2013) is a tour de force of ecstatic Eastern-influenced freak-folk. Mostly these pieces lean towards the traditional song format, although inevitably deformed by the musicians' pedigrees.

    The ghostly hyper-dilated drones of Ghost Coyote are imbued with quasi-Morricone western-movie guitar twang and even harmonica. The sweet lullaby and the trotting pace of Eureka My Love as well as the romantic honky-tonking Justine (with a refrain a bit reminiscent of Dylan's Blowing in the Wind) hark back to the heydays of country-rock. 2-3-74 Floating evokes the martial laments of the young Neil Young although diluted amid discordant guitar jamming and lulled by waves of funereal vocal harmonies. Berserker's Boogie is a lively and poppy almost-bluegrass tune. They even intone the singalong Queen Anne's Lace with drums, banjo and all.

    Thankfully, the spaced-out yodeling of Lullaby de Bourbon (memories of Aoxomoxoa-era Grateful Dead), the free-form quasi-jazz guitar and vocal interplay of Will We Call It Love, the seven-minute dreaming psalm Big Pink Sun and its sublimely disintegrating coda, remind us of what Maquiladora are best at. The 23-minute Midget Decapitates Clownis an ambitious concerto for suspense and agony. Far from being just a droning piece, it piles up sonic event after sonic event, producing the trancey effect out of a multitude of traumatic sounds. The chirping and tweeting that accumulates half-way into the piece decays into a nervous organic filigree and dies away in the most cryptic manner; one of the high points of Maquiladora's career.

    Earthling Tempel - Pilgrimage To Thunderbolt Pagoda
    by Aquarius Records

    Not sure if this is part 4, or just the first in a new multi part epic, hardly matters, what does matter is, this is another glorious expansive collection of meditative psychedelic abstract dronefolk ambience. Every High Mountain Tempel disc we're reviewed thus far has gotten played to death here, and this one doesn't appear to be any different. Well, at least in that respect. In one distinct way it is very different, HMT are not going it alone this time. They've assembled a pretty impressive collection of sonic alchemists and musical conjurers to help with this ritual, Isis Aquarian from the Source Family, Charles Curtis from La Monte Young's Just Alap Raga Ensemble, and two crews from the UK we've never heard of, Earthling Society and Astarism, but even with all those cooks in the kitchen, HMT and friends have managed to weave another dark minimal masterpiece, all hushed barely there guitar shimmer, drifting whispered vocals, delicate crystalline melodies, dense swirls of piano, warm swells of tape hiss, mysterious voices and field recordings, whirring organ, bowed steel strings... so lovely.

    If the liner notes are to be believed, two of the tracks feature Earthling Society on their own, and those tracks do sound different, much less free and sprawling, a bit more structured, like seventies UK acid folk, swirling and melodic and quite lovely. The final two tracks find the two groups in full on collaborative mode, and the gears shift to something much more space rocky and Hawkwindy, all blissed out and heart-of-the-sun, until the final track which is a strummy, delicate, moody chill out closer, a sort of dour doom folk drift, that makes a perfect ending.

    Super nice packaging, silkscreened oversized 4 panel sleeve, white on black, with the cd-r affixed to the inside. And of course, SUPER LIMITED!

    High Mountain Tempel - The Glass Bead Game by Aquarius Records

    Part three in the ongoing series of limited cd-r explorations from mysterious drone combo High Mountain Tempel, and like the two before it, the band continue to delve into some murky sonic underworld, again presenting loooong songs, each separated by brief sonic interludes, this disc seems feature more actual vocals, the opening track features a processed voice, that sounds a bit like throat singing, or a Speak And Spell, intoning some arcane message, interwoven with long drawn out tones, and a thick ropy buzz, super dark and intense and atmospheric. Elsewhere sampled voices surface, there are bits of chanting here and there, all peppered throughout the disc. But even with the extra voices, the focus here is still on dark, lugubrious, extended dronescapes.

    The sound of High Mountain Tempel is probably closest to Expo '70, as their various permutations of dronemusic seem to have a definite krautrock vibe, that gives the sound a sort of spaced out quality, and a subtle propulsion, but unlike Expo '70, HMT seem to have a distinct Eastern influence, much of the music is meditative and subtly dramatic, a bit soundtracky, and some of it sounds like it could be Japanese. Especially the way field recordings are incorporated into the sounds. Giving everything a definite texture, some of it sounding like it was perhaps recorded live in some hilltop temple. Which we would imagine is the idea.

    Not sure what else to say actually. This is indeed fantastic, brooding and malefic, but also shimmery and dreamy, sonically it has much in common with the first two installments, so definitely check out those reviews to read more about their 'sound'.

    Needless to say, fans of the drone and folks into the current crop of cd-r soundscapers will for sure dig this, but like the other HMT discs, this is more than simple drone music, this is ritualistic alchemical soundwork, one can almost imagine stumbling across a group of cloaked figures huddled around a fire in a forest clearing, tossing various powders into the flames, causing the fire to change color and cast beastlike shadows on the branches above, and this is the sound filtering through the forest like a black moonlit fog...
    SUPER LIMITED of course, packaged beautifully in a foldover silkscreened sleeve, gold metallic on red on the outside, black on red on the inside.

    High Mountain Tempel - A Screaming Comes Across The Sky - The Faultline Scriptures
    by Aquarius Records

    Record number two from this mysterious drone-kraut styled duo. Their last disc was a huge hit around here, so we were pretty thrilled to get our hands on this one, a logical sonic extension of the first, delving deeper into some murky tripped out twilit soundworld.
    The disc opens with shimmering clouds of gongs and cymbals, whirring and sizzling, suspended over a deep distant rumble, a delicate intro to a record at once hypnotic and lovely, dark and dense.

    The record is arranged into three epic tracks, interspersed with short sonic interludes, ranging from field recordings of crickets, looped chants (Elizabeth Clare Prophet if we're not mistaken), spirituals and mysterious liturgical songs, whirring drones, and backwards percussion, but it's the long tracks where the duo get to spread out, let their dense soundscapes sprawl.

    The three long tracks sounds like movements of a greater whole, clocking in at 15 minutes, 11 minutes and nearly 17 minutes respectively, each rife with creepy delayed vocals, churning guitars and smeared chords, roiling muddy whirls, which often dissipate leaving streaks of fragmented melody and haunting slowed down voices. Buried amidst the drones and whirs, are lullaby-like melodies, skittery percussion, streaks of grinding distortion, hidden voices, more field recordings, thick swaths of cavernous rumbles, little bits of electronic glitch and lots and lots of low end buzz.

    Packaged in a fancy navy blue fold over sleeve, screenprinted in white ink, with a photocopied insert with liner notes and song credits.

    LIMITED TO 150 COPIES! Each one hand numbered.


© | Live Reviews | CD Reviews | Music Features | Forum | Submit/Ads | Contact |